Penny Pinchers

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5 Penny Pinches

By Julie Norman
Friday, January 23, 2015

The Frugal Girl sent out a 5 Frugal Things email today, so I thought I'd attempt a 5 Penny Pinches blog post for you.


1. I've been getting lots of free exercise lately AND saving on gas by taking run/walks on my lunch break down on our Riverfront Trail.  It's about 1/4 mile from work, so I can get there, run/walk, and get back to work well within my lunch hour.  The other day I saw this guy:

2. I made 2 loaves of King Arthur Back-of-the-Bag Oatmeal Bread last week.  I did NOT use King Arthur flour because the store brand is less expensive and just as good!

3. For Christmas a friend got me the Thug Kitchen cookbook.  If you aren't easily offended by explitives, check it out! The recipes end up being fairly inexpensive because they're all vegetarian.  Most are actually vegan and gluten free.  This week we had the Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas.

(image from Click the image to be taken to the Amazon page about it.

4. In making several recipes this week I've dug into the freezer for bags of frozen zucchini, butternut squash and tomatoes from last season's harvest. It's been great to use up some of those items in anticipation of an even better garden this year!

5. Speaking of the garden...we've started planning.  Penny over at Let's Get Dirty, can prove that's a little bit cheaper (though time consuming) to have your own garden! For us I think that definitely proved true.  I still buy lots of produce, but having peaches, plums, squash and other items on hand has been very helpful this year.


More ideas about MYO soup stocks

By Julie Norman
Friday, January 16, 2015

I've talked before about making my own stocks either from vegetable scraps or from chicken/turkey bones.  It's way cheaper than buying stock at the store (hello, $2.50 a carton!) and it's better for you.  Unfortunately, lately I've not been able to make enough stock to keep us supplied and so I've found myself buying more and more cartons of vegetable stock. Today, however, I saw this article by Mark Bittman about creating stocks from all sorts of things! These are quick "stocks" too, like 5-15 minute stocks, but they add flavor and that's really all that matters.  I love the simplicity of the herb and garlic stock, the mushroom one, and even the prosciutto (ham at our house) and parmesan one.  I still always have vegetable scraps in the freezer, so if I added those to a handful of parsley (which is very cheap) and garlic, I could create a nicely flavored stock for a soup base or even for cooking rice or beans, in 15 minutes or less! 

I will definitely be utlizing Mark's ideas here and I hope you do to.  To beef up these stocks, anytime you peel carrots or chop the ends off of onions, put those scraps in a zip top bag in your freezer.  Add asparagus ends, mushroom bits, even garlic if you just used a whole clove for flavoring something and then plan to just toss it. Celery leaves are a great addition too, but don't add too many or they could make your broth bitter.  Experiment! Good luck!


Taking advantage of sales

By Julie Norman
Tuesday, January 13, 2015

It may sound obvious, but sales are a great way to save.  On Cyber Monday of 2014 I was able to find BOGO deals on for my favorite tights and on the Coobie site for some new unmentionables.  These are items that usually run about $20 and I was able to get get TWO for that price! Yay for sales.

More recently, though, I was shopping the Lands End website.  My mom sent me a tunic from there for Christmas but it just wasn't my style.  So I returned it to Sears and got a Lands End gift card instead.  It just so happened that Lands End was also having a 15% EXTRA off of all sale and clearance items.  So I found a new sweater and a few pieces of activewear.  Between the extra 15% off and my gift card, I saved around $33. Every little bit helps, and that extra 15% off plus free shipping made this online shopping trip worth it.


Here you can see the promo savings at the top - $14.25, the free shipping, and the amount of my gift card.


Saving on Travel

By Julie Norman
Friday, January 2, 2015

Good article from the NYTimes Frugal Traveler on saving while traveling this year.  Some of it is tried and true info, but other bits may be things you hadn't thought of yet.  Click here to read it!


Save the comics!

By Julie Norman
Monday, December 29, 2014

Looking for cheap wrapping paper for birthdays and the holidays? Look no further than your Sunday Daily Sentinel. For the past few years we've been saving our Sunday comics and we then use them to wrap gifts.  They're fun, look great with curling ribbon of all colors, and don't cost any extra money!  I hope you're also remembering to save gift bags, tissue paper, and cute boxes to reuse next year too.  Wrapping paper is one thing I hope to never have to buy again...and if I run out of comics I'll just start using the actual newspaper.  I bet if you positioned cool pictures strategically that could look really good too!

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